Waiting for Delta

Sir Ian McKellen in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot

My apologies to Samuel Beckett. I have seen this play in London, and also in New Zealand, at the St James Theatre, where I have to say the New Zealand audience really enjoyed the play, and responded with enthusiasm. I’ve also seen a wonderful film at the French Film Festival where a French actor staged this play with a group of prison inmates.

Today is Saturday October 30th, 2021. Kia ora!

Last night I heard that there were two new cases of Covid 19 in Northland, and that now Tonga has its first case, from someone who flew there from Christchurch. This person had a negative test before departing, and was fully vaccinated.

At 1 pm we are told there are 160 new cases, including a new case in Christchurch, who had recently returned from overseas, was fully vaccinated, and had returned negative tests while in MIQ. There are seven new cases in Waikato, one in Northland (two were reported yesterday – people do get around!), and the rest in Auckland. Now seven residents and a staff member at the Henderson Rest Home (where a resident was reported as having tested positive yesterday) have tested positive.  It seems the case that flew to Tonga had several close contacts, who are now isolating, including two who flew to Wellington. That’s just great. Poor Tamaki Makaurau!  The good news it that fewer than expected numbers of cases are in hospital. I put this down to increased vaccination – which does seem to reduce the likelihood of serious disease.

This morning I listened to part of the Beg to Differ podcast, where the guest Jonathan Chait, endeavoured to explain the appeal of Joe Biden and the Progressive Caucus’s “socialistic” ideas that are commonplace in many societies, and are extremely popular.  He was a lone voice amongst the howls of why don’t the Dems just settle for less, runaway inflation, financial irresponsibility, the dreadfulness of Bernie Sanders and AOC, and so on. And, by the way, shouldn’t they be safeguarding democracy while they’re at it? And, goodness me, they can’t agree on taxing the rich!

Yes, it’s all very frustrating. It’s a shame that Joe Biden’s poll numbers are falling; it’s a shame that Terry McAuliffe isn’t perceived as being a better candidate for Governor of Virginia. There’s a great deal for Democrats to do. But I think, on the whole, they’re doing a good job. I too wish they’d do more.

It’s now Sunday, October 31st. Yesterday JD and I went for a walk in Wilton’s Bush. How it has changed since I was a child, and often used to come here! It was a good walk, and there were quite a few people there. The pathway, although muddy was quite even.

This morning I went to church. It was lovely, as always, and nice to be there. In his sermon the minister spoke about showing Christian love towards those who don’t believe in vaccines; not writing them off, but keeping the conversation going. That can be quite a challenge, but the vaccination rates are inching up, here in New  Zealand.

Today there are 143 new community cases of Covid 19, and no new cases in Christchurch.  There are six cases in Waikato, two in Northland, and the rest in Auckland.

It’s now Monday November 1st.

I heard that there was a case of Covid 19 in Ngaruawahia (a town in the Waikato), a pupil at Mt Albert Grammar had tested positive, and a staff member at MacLeans College. The total community cases today is 162, the highest yet. Of these, one is in Northland, five in Waikato (including two more in Otorohanga) and the rest in Auckland. There is to be a press conference at 4 pm.  There are no new cases in Christchurch, but Covid 19 has been detected in wastewater samples in the southern and eastern parts of Christchurch.

News today tells that President Biden’s lovely press secretary, Jen Psaki, has tested positive for Covid 19; the Cop26 climate conference opening in Glasgow has been plagued by stormy weather – oh, the irony! And New Zealand’s commitment to reduce harmful emissions looks pretty pathetic, too. 

It’s fine and warm here, but it was quite cold this morning. I was in town for several hours, but am now totally exhausted, and a bit cynical. 

There was a press conference at 4 pm, and I think that restrictions were to be eased somewhat in Waikato, and in Auckland.

It’s now Tuesday November 2nd.

I read on the stuff website that there are 18 (!) new cases in Otorohanga.  The NZ Herald says 4 new cases in Waikato, and one in Kaitaia. Apparently the NZ Herald is now reporting this too.

At 1 pm we learn that there are 126 new cases today, including18 in Waikato, one in Northland and the rest in Auckland. The Prime Minister visited Tai Tokerau in Northland, to encourage vaccination, and was heckled, leading to a shut down of the press conference. Later this afternoon we were told that Chris Hipkins was to hold a press conference at 5:30 pm.  He was supposed to be on leave, but instead announced that the far North (i.e. the northern part of Northland) would go into level 3 from midnight tonight. A barrier will be put in place. The reason for this is that an earlier case of Covid 19 cannot be linked to existing cases.

It’s now Wednesday November 3rd.

Yesterday I had an eye test. I always find this very tiring, but it didn’t seem so bad this time, until the optometrist put eye drops in to dilate my pupils. She did this when the appointment was almost finished. Afterwards, I found it really difficult to see, especially with regard to depth perception. It was cold and windy, and after closing time for most cafés. I was very relieved when JD picked me up. He then suggested we go to the New World Supermarket in Thorndon. That’s usually a big treat for me, but I couldn’t see very well!  Anyway, JD packed the shopping into my reusable shopping bags  – a first!   I bought donuts for afternoon tea, and more salads.

This morning hymn singing resumed, masked and distanced. It was still really nice to have it, though.  We sang some beautiful Welsh hymn tunes, and Sing Aloud to God our Strength (my favourite hymn for the latest lockdown). Afterwards I had morning tea: a cup of coffee, and a cheese and spinach scone, then caught a bus back to Johnsonville. I spoke to two friends, both of whom expressed concern about what may happen next, and if there’s a sudden lock down again, where one would prefer to be (assuming one had a choice, between one’s regular house, and one’s beach house).  We just don’t know what may happen next.

I had Tai Chi at midday. This was lovely, too, although it’s very different from my “old” Tai Chi classes. The moves are the same, though, and the principles are the same, as is the theory of shifting one’s weight from one side to the other, as one moves one’s feet. we did some good eye exercises.

Today there are 100 new community cases of Covid 19 – 97 in Auckland, and 3 in Waikato. There are 58 people in hospital, and 3 in Intensive care. Now, fifteen residents of the Henderson Retirement Home have tested positive, and four staff members. As I said earlier, vaccination rates are slowly lifting.

It’s now Thursday November 4th. This morning I went to singing, and it was lovely. We could have morning tea, today. Those of us who wear glasses are frustrated to have them fog up when we wear a mask. Despite various solutions, this remains a problem.  There was a good turnout, including several people who hadn’t been for a long time. It was good to see them again. There was someone new, too!

Today there are 139 new community cases of Covid 19; there are two in Waikato, one in Northland and the rest in Auckland. Wastewater testing in Christchurch has failed to detect Covid 19.

It is still very boring here. Everyone is nervous, and there is a lot of anger and frustration; few are prepared to be calm about the situation we’re in, and that it’s really nobody’s fault. Delta has come, it’s staying a while in Tamaki Makaurau, and, outside of Auckland, where would you rather be?  We don’t know what’s ahead. Wellingtonians fear a bigger outbreak of delta here, but it’s already been here, in the middle of August.

In other news: the four year old girl who went missing in Western Australia has been found, alive and well; in the US the Democrats lost the Virginia gubernatorial election, and Glenn Youngkin was elected rather than Terry McAuliffe; in New Jersey Democrat Phil Murphy narrowly won re-election as Governor. The Cop26 Climate Conference in Glasgow is coming to an end; here, Gisborne is experiencing heavy rain, a state of emergency has been declared, and there have been some evacuations. In England, some people cannot get vaccination booster shots because there aren’t enough truck drivers to deliver the doses. Here in New Zealand a New Lynn primary school student has tested positive for Covid 19, and in South Auckland a person died last night who was isolating for Covid 19. I’m not sure if he was isolating at home because he had Covid 19, or had been in contact with someone infected with the virus. It hasn’t been announced yet whether he died from Covid 19, or there was another cause. Today it was announced that 57 people were in hospital, and four in Intensive Care (I think).  And – it’s very sad news – that a former All Black has been diagnosed with dementia, at the tender age of 41. 

It’s sow Friday November 5th, Guy Fawkes Day, for those who think it’s a good idea to light fireworks – around where I live, people light fireworks at any time until New Year’s Eve.

This morning it was revealed that Covid 19 has been detected in the wastewater of Stratford, a township in Taranaki close to Mt Egmont. So far, no cases of Covid 19 have been detected there.  A second person with Covid 19, who was isolating at home, has died. It’s reported that he discharged himself from hospital.  Today there are 163 community cases of Covid 19, with four in Waikato and the rest all in Auckland.  It seems (it was reported yesterday?) that 89.6% of the eligible population have had their first dose of the vaccine. That is quite amazing.  Meanwhile, we carry on, with care…getting slightly braver about doing the things we love.

In other news, there have been significant changes in the leadership of Hohepa. These changes, although not voted on by all stakeholders, look good. With regard to the recent US elections, it either spelt doom for the Democrats, to lose the gubernatorial election in Virginia, or perhaps, it didn’t. As usual, it depends on whom you listen to. That’s it for now. Ngā mihi.

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